FIVE QUESTIONS IN THE CORRAL: CHRIS WANDLER
FIVE QUESTIONS IN THE CORRAL: CHRIS WANDLER
by OC Sports Writer Andrew Wild
09/27/2012...The Olds College ACAC women’s volleyball team will be heading into their first ever ACAC season and we invited head coach Chris Wandler into the Corral to give us his thoughts on this move up the college sports landscape for the women’s volleyball program.
1. Hi Chris and thanks for joining us in the Corral. First off, you have an extensive background in volleyball and many things on the go in terms of coaching and teaching the sport. What made you decide to join a fledgling program like the Olds College Broncos?
My decision to come down the QE II from Red Deer was one done strictly on the idea of opportunity to build a program from the basement up, along with fulfilling a professional goal to Head Coach at the post-secondary level without leaving my home in Red Deer. Even though leaving RDC was a tough decision, being the assistant coach for the past nine years, opportunities in coaching don't come around often so when I was asked, it really made good sense for me at this time.
2. With a relatively short time in which to build your squad for a very competitive ACAC schedule, what have you been trying to focus on in order to have a competitive team on the court come late October when the regular season is served up?
Since I was given the ACAC head coaching position last October, my recruiting started that day. So it's been a years' process of formulating this group in which I am extremely happy and confident in. We have a great combination of veteran CCAA experience with two transfers Sage Falhman (MHC) and Telania Snider (RDC) and an athlete who is returning to the game after being away for 4 years, Randi Tajcnar (previously at RDC 2005-08). Our focus as a group has been getting to know each other and trying to figure out what our identity is going to be as a team. Having to bring 14 new athletes who have never played with each other on the court and play together is our initial challenge. The talent is there to be utilized, but we need to know how to play at a high level as a group.
3. You've coached in this league before. What standard of volleyball are fans in Olds going to see and how big a transition is it for rookies coming into ACAC volleyball?
Our group here at Olds well on its way to being a strong ACAC team. The speed, tempo and level of athlete that we recruit is the biggest difference between an ACAC team and the previous ACAL group, it's a whole new stratosphere! It didn't take long for the rookies to know what the expectations are, as we have a great leadership group with our veteran presence. And with three of the rookies have played for me before at the U18 club level, so they are familiar the idea of training with a mindful effort. The rest of group has learned in a short period of time that you need to put in a mindful effort in the classroom, on the court and in physical training in order to play at the level that they are expected to.
4. The college has recently featured a fairly successful ACAL volleyball program that will continue to function as a JV team within Broncos Athletics. How does that team fit into what you are trying to build with the ACAC program?
The ACAL team from the previous years has had some great success. We have three athletes from last year’s ACAL Championship team, Tristin Hogarth, Megan Garrand, Dakota Wilson who have trained hard over the summer to make a positive impact on this year’s team. Our JV team has some potential to make an impact on the depth of our roster. The continued success of the ACAL team is going to be key in order for us to have a winning culture here at Olds.
5. It’s early days yet, but what kind of expectations are you and the team putting on yourselves for this first season? What's realistic?
When I took the position last year, my mindset was to build a group to have positive success immediately in the ACAC; which in this case is playing beyond the regular season. Gotta have big goals! We have the group to see this long-term goal is accomplished, that's if we keep to perfecting the little things in practice and building on becoming a cohesive unit. This would be a very realistic goal for us this year.
Thanks Chris for taking the time to answer Five Questions in the Corral!
Broncos Women’s ACAC volleyball will be jumping into the preseason this weekend when they head up the highway to Red Deer for the Wildrose Preseason Tournament. The regular season begins Friday, Oct. 26 when the Broncos head to Lethbridge to take on the Kodiaks.
Five Questions in the Corral is a weekly question and answer feature on www.gobroncos.ca with the movers and shakers in Broncos Athletics. Join us here every week to hear from players, coaches and others who will be front and centre in the Broncos ACAC and ACAL efforts this season.